Vancouver to Portland HSR Feasibility Study Funds Allocated

Vancouver to Portland HSR Feasibility Study Funds Allocated :$1 million USD in funds have been allocated in the Washington State budget by State Governor Jay Inslee in order to commission a proper feasibility study for a High Speed Rail project that would link Vancouver in Canada to Portland in Oregon via Seattle, Washington.

The study is aimed at identifying the costs and benefits of ultra-high speed ground transportation, according to the 2017-2019 Transportation Appropriations Bill. It would determine potential alignments, ridership numbers and costs, as well as environmental implications and technological options.

A full report is expected to be submitted by 15 December 2017.

Stations are being considered for: Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, SeaTac, Tacoma, Olympia, Vancouver (Washington) and Portland.

Travel time from Vancouver (B.C.) to Seattle would be reduced from the current three hours with Amtrak Cascades to just one hour, with services running at speeds of 400 km/h or more.

According to a Working Paper presented in September 2016 at the Emerging Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference by WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineering Consultant David J. Carol “A two-track high-speed guideway can reliably support 6-8 trains per hour in each direction. This would mean a train connecting Seattle and Vancouver every 10-15 minutes, with some operating as non-stop express and others stopping at Everett and Bellingham. As noted, with the success of the system, service could be extended to Portland and Eugene and even link up with the future high speed rail service across California.”

The Working Paper concludes: “The vision of an economically integrated Cascadia is achievable. High-speed rail linking the downtowns of Seattle and Vancouver in less than one hour is an important element of and catalyst for that integration. With good planning that reflects both an engaged public and the lessons of 50 years of high-speed rail experience, implementation of high-speed rail can be a positive process that accelerates economic integration and protects the region’s unique resources and lifestyle for generations to come.” Final.pdf

According to Washington State Transportation Center Director Mark Hallenbeck the Pacific Northwest would be the perfect place to implement an HSR line: “People in the cities already share an awful lot of interaction in terms of their business markets as well as their tourism markets.”

British Columbia’s Transportation Minister Todd Stone stated on 14 February that the province supports the idea of an HSR line between Vancouver and Seattle, but that it was too early to say whether British Columbia would fund part of the proposed project if it went ahead.

Many U.S. Transit Agencies and Departments of Transportation are eagerly following their newly elected President Donald Trump in the hope of obtaining federal government funds for their HSR programs.

However the President won’t be too impressed right now, with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announcing to reporters on 30 January 2017 that he was suing President Donald Trump over the recent immigration executive order that bans immigrants from seven countries. Bob Ferguson made the announcement beside Governor Inslee, who in turn held a press conference at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on 6 February 2017 to welcome a passenger who had been blocked from entry due to the immigration ban.

A private company, Cascadia High Speed Rail (CHSR), has been working for the past eight years on a conceptual plan for a 750 km long, electrically powered, double-track HSR corridor from Eugene in Oregon to Vancouver in British Columbia via Portland and Seattle. It is in contact with private parties, legislative members, mayors, governors and others, in an effort to secure private and public funds to pay for the corridor development.

Writer: John Carlo Ottaviani

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